Person sitting on kitchen floor struggling with health effects of bulimia

Long Term Health Effects of Bulimia

Bulimia is a severe mental health condition that can significantly impact physical and emotional well-being. People with bulimia may experience extreme weight fluctuations, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and other issues that compromise their health and wellness. Though this eating disorder can lead to death in more severe cases, treatment may help individuals fully recover.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the health effects of bulimia, contact Recovery Ranch. The clinicians and counselors in our mental health treatment center provide compassionate care and evidence-based approaches to help clients recover. The Ranch has helped many people learn healthy coping skills that lead to better overall functioning and happiness. Call 1.844.876.7680 today to learn how we can tailor a care plan that meets your needs and help you live a more fulfilling life. 

What Are the Health Effects of Bulimia?

When young adults attempt to lose weight by eating and then purging their food, they have no idea of the severe harm they’re doing to their bodies. Bulimia health risks may cause severe and life-threatening physical and mental health issues. The long-term effects of bulimia may affect bodily systems in the following ways:

Heart and Circulation 

Using laxatives to purge the body of food causes electrolyte imbalances which damage the heart. Electrolyte imbalances can lead to a heart attack, and heart failure is one of the leading fatal effects of bulimia. This eating disorder can also induce high blood pressure, severe headaches, seizures, and fatigue. 


Bulimia can have serious and often long-term damage to the stomach. Eating large amounts of food at once can cause the stomach lining to become inflamed or swollen, leading to severe abdominal pain and chronic indigestion. Regular purging of food can also cause muscle weakness in the esophagus, making it difficult for food to pass through the digestive system.


Malnutrition caused by bulimia keeps the kidneys from functioning normally, preventing these vital organs from cleaning toxins and dangerous substances out of the body. As harmful toxins accumulate in the body, they can cause problems such as kidney infections or failure. 

Bones and Teeth

If an individual does not get enough nutrients, their bone mineral density will not fully develop. Insufficient bone density can also occur when an individual does not get enough Vitamin D, phosphorus, or calcium. As a result, some individuals with bulimia develop osteoporosis, an irreversible bone disease. Tooth decay and loss can also happen due to bulimia, as frequent vomiting causes stomach acids to eat away at the teeth. 

Reproductive System

A woman who has had bulimia for several years may damage her reproductive system. As the body focuses on survival, it may cease to menstruate because of nutrient depletion. Sometimes the menstrual cycle never resumes, resulting in an inability to have children. 

Mental and Emotional Effects

Bulimia doesn’t just injure the body physically; it can cause mental and emotional problems that persist throughout life. The effects of bulimia can damage the brain’s ability to concentrate and make decisions. Those with bulimia sometimes suffer from psychological issues that can last years and even endanger their lives. Some individuals fall into a such great depression that they may become suicidal. Others engage in behaviors that cause physical and mental harm, such as drug or alcohol use, while others may self-harm.

Find Mental Health Treatment for Bulimia Recovery Ranch

If you are experiencing side effects of bulimia, it is vital to seek help immediately. Recovery Ranch provides comprehensive mental health treatment in Tennessee for those suffering from addiction and related disorders. Our experienced team can help you begin your journey towards a healthier lifestyle free from the health effects of bulimia. Call 1.844.876.7680 or fill out our online form to learn how we can get you started on your journey toward lasting wellness.

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